Michael van Gerwen Wins First Ever PDC U.S. Masters Darts Championship at Tropicana Las Vegas

The U.S. Masters Darts Tournament, the first ever World Series of Darts event held in the United States, concluded in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 15, after a thrilling series of matches that saw world number one “Mighty” Michael van Gerwen claim the title of U.S. Darts Master. The U.S. Masters drew 1,000 fans for the North American Championship on Thursday, July 13, and sell-out crowds of 1,300 for each day of U.S. Masters competition, July 14-15.

Tropicana Las Vegas, host venue for the event, saw an influx of international travelers coming over to enjoy the sport they love, but PDC Chairman Barry Hearn estimated the crowd to be about 60 percent American.

“It was a fantastic success in Las Vegas and a great boost for darts across North America,” said Hearn. “The crowds were fantastic and to see them getting behind the players so much was great; their support was brilliant, and all the players enjoyed it. There’s no reason why we can’t be back in Las Vegas bigger and better next year and beyond.”

Coverage of the 2017 U.S. Masters could be seen nightly on FS1, with coverage anchored by FOX Sports’ Chris Meyers and three-time darts world champion, Canadian John Part. David Hill, former FOX executive and founder of FOX Sports, co-promoted the event with Hearn.

“The in-person experience was fun and festive, and we’re very encouraged by how the U.S. Darts Masters performed on FS1 compared to other sports that are much more familiar to Americans,” said Hill. “This is the most crowded sports market in the world, but I have no doubt that darts can grow and have niche on U.S. television given that it’s now a worldwide phenomenon.”

Van Gerwen claimed a second World Series of Darts title in the space of a week – he won the Shanghai Masters the week prior – beating debutant Daryl Gurney 8-6 in the final of the U.S. Darts Masters in Las Vegas. During a dominant performance, Van Gerwen won through to the final losing only a single leg along the way as he followed up Friday’s first round whitewash of Chris White with an 8-1 quarter-final defeat of Canadian Qualifier Dave Richardson and an 8-0 romp against Gerwyn Price.

“It’s so good to win the first U.S. Darts Masters in Las Vegas,” said world number one Van Gerwen. “The whole event has been superb. The fans, the players and the PDC have been brilliant, so I can’t wait to get back next year.”

Gurney, making his first appearance in a World Series event, knocked off world number three Peter “Snakebite” Wright in the quarterfinal and world number two Gary “The Flying Scotsman” Anderson in the semis. Despite Gurney’s best efforts, the world number one proved too strong in the final, as Van Gerwen claimed a tenth World Series of Darts title.

“He was too good for me today, but I’m getting much closer,” said 31-year-old Gurney. “This is where I want to be, and I think I’ve done myself a lot of favors here. There are a lot of big events coming up, and this will give me a lot of confidence. When I get to a final I really want to win, so I’m not happy to lose but I’ve played well.”

The event drew more than 160 entrants from the United States and Canada to its qualifiers that were held Tuesday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 12. Eight of those competitors played for the North American Championship on Thursday, July 13. 35-year-old South Dakota law enforcement officer Willard “Willy J” Bruguier Jr. was named North American Champion and given an automatic entry into the World Championship in London at the end of this year.

On Friday, the eight qualifiers faced off against eight of the PDC’s best, invited to compete in the World Series of Darts event. Richardson and Alberta’s Dawson Murschell – just 21 years old – stunned their respective first-round competitors Max Hopp and James Wade, earning places in the Saturday quarter-final. Both would subsequently fall to the finalists, with Murschell – an obvious fan favorite – putting up a good fight against Gurney.

“The standard of the eight North American qualifiers was great, and for Dawson Murschell and Dave Richardson to knock out PDC stars shows the quality of the players out there,” said Hearn. “We can’t wait to see Willard Bruguier in the World Championship in December. It’s a massive opportunity now for him in the biggest event in the sport. He’ll be on the global stage, and anything could happen!”

Saturday, July 15 Results
Quarter-Final
Gerwyn Price 8-4 Dawson Murschell
Michael van Gerwen 8-1 Dave Richardson
Gary Anderson 8-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Daryl Gurney 8-7 Peter Wright

Semi-Final
Van Gerwen 8-0 Price
Gurney 8-4 Anderson

Final
Van Gerwen 8-6 Gurney

For more information and a full recap of the 2017 U.S. Masters, as well as results and coverage of other World Series of Darts events, visit www.pdc.tv.

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